Friday, August 31, 2012

Getting Lost...

via Facebook
My friend Lauren likes to call getting lost an "accidental adventure". My friend Coleen posted the above image on my Facebook wall after we managed to get lost for the fourth time in a row during our last Weekend Sherpa Adventure to Alamere Falls in Point Reyes National Seashore.

Along Point Reyes National Seashore.
It seems to be something that just happens, even in this day and age of GPS and map quest, or perhaps because of these conveniences (I swear my GPS has taken me to the craziest places, like dirt roads made for ATVs or mountain bikes). I remember using those impossible-to-refold maps {one for every state} to navigate a trip from Warner Robbins, Georgia to Stroudsburg, dad at the controls of his brand new 1984 Camaro and me (all of 13 years old) making sure we made it to Grammy's house so my dad would be proud of my awesome navigation skills. Now, I not only print out mapquest or Google map directions, but then also use my phone's navigation app, and still manage to get turned around.

My Grammy Weber {RIP}
But, like Lauren says, and like Coleen and I have done, we make the most of these accidental adventures...or at least use them as an excuse to stop for a coffee. Hmmm, I wonder if Starbucks might be behind all of this? I'm not sure that the hubby will be as amused as Coleen and Lauren when IF I get us lost while he's behind the wheel of our 32 foot RV that's also towing a's not so easy to turn that thing around or drive through narrow streets when GPS has us taking some odd 'shortcut'. We've already had to disconnect the Jeep once to make a u-turn on a random dirt road my navigation app told us would end up at our intended campground. It didn't...and I swear I heard banjo music playing...

So last week, after taking the long-way (I won't say lost because the road eventually did lead us to the right place), Coleen and I were treated to quite possibly the best hike ever. Being a bit worried that we might be disappointed after the gorgeous hike to Stinson Beach the week prior, we almost didn't want to attempt any new hikes. But, once again, Weekend Sherpa came through with this fabulous suggestion. And this is what we were treated to:

Alamere Falls...yes, a waterfall ON the beach!
I'm a sucker for the beach...and you can understand the problem with this setting...where to we eat lunch? Facing the waterfall or the ocean?

A blend of forest, beach, ocean vistas, lakes waterfalls and coastal breezes.

I don't know if Coleen and I will have time for any more adventures. She is currently in Kauai running a half-marathon with Team-in-Training and I have four weeks before we hit the road (with two dental appointments, a camping trip to Ano Nuevo and Butano State Parks planned as well as my husband's retirement party). We've made some great memories and taken a ton of pictures. I've certainly enjoyed every second I've been able to spend with her and consider her to be one of my closest and best friends.
We're so dang cute!

Our new friend.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Weekend Sherpa

My time in Northern California is quickly coming to an end. After living in the East Bay for 18 years (longer than I've lived anywhere) my husband and I are packing up our entire lives and heading out in a 32-foot Winnebago RV to travel the country indefinitely. We leave in seven weeks.

"The Mutiny" at Folsom State Park
 Short-term-itis has set in and so seven weeks feels like forever while we plug away at our 'day jobs' counting down the days until we launch. However, we recently started preparations it's now becoming apparent that this time will fly by and we may not be ready if we aren't careful. Lots of lists and appointments and sticky notes of 'things to do' litter our living space so we don't forget the small details, like updated rabies vaccinations for the furbabies.

In a previous post I had mentioned all of the things I still wanted to do before we leave. Norcal is a wonderful place with so many things to do and experience that one could literally spend a lifetime trying to see it all. We live just 2 hours from Lake Tahoe and some of the best skiing in the a matter of fact, we were just married this past Christmas at Squaw Valley Ski Resort which was home to the 1960 Winter Olympics. Go the other direction and in about an hour we can be in the heart of San Francisco enjoying noodles in China Town. Just outside of The City there are Redwood forests, beaches, more mountains, national monuments and a million places that will take your breath away...and did I mention Napa Valley (aka Wine Country) is 30 minutes from us?

In a mad rush to experience every thing I can {because that's what I do} I've enlisted the help of the best running partner in the world, Coleen. Inspired by Weekend Sherpa's Adventure Challenge (to complete three of their adventures and post pictures of us doing them on to their Facebook Page to earn a Weekend Sherpa t-shirt) we've accomplished six so far.

1- North Peak of Mt. Diablo
Dang there's a lot of uphill on this hike!

The North Park of Mt. Diablo...we just came from there and were on our way to the Summit.

2- The Grand Loop to Mt. Diablo summit
We made it!!
Part of the 360 degree view from the top.
Mt. Diablo Grand Loop

3- Sutro Baths

The Sutro Baths...
Sutro Baths with the Cliff House in the background...

4- Land's End Labyrinth

The Labyrinth at Mile Rock Beach

In the Labyrinth...
Coastal Sweet Peas

5- China Beach

Sutro, China Beach, Land's End

Coleen enjoying the surf with the Golden Gate in background...

6- Mt. Tamalpais to Stinson Beach (and back)

Spotted some wildlife...
Hiked a portion of this famous trail...
Found some beautiful coastal flowers...

Was treated to an amazing view of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge from Table Rock on Mt. Tam.
Posing for pics on one of many bridges on Steep Ravine...

Cooling off in the Pacific Ocean...Stinson Beach.

Mt. Tampalpais/Stinson Beach
Beautiful scenery, fun-filled adventures and great outdoor hikes aside, the time I have been able to spend with Coleen has been the true highlight of these past few weeks. It's hard to say goodbye to friends and I have no idea how I'm going to deal with this one in particular. It's pretty rare for me to find someone who enjoys so much of the same things and can still carry on a good conversation or for us to be in each other's company without the need to fill every second with uncomfortable silences here.

Hopefully, Coleen and I will be able to squeeze in a few more adventures...after all, I still need to get a picture of us together in our Weekend Sherpa t-shirts!

* Note: I will be blogging our RV Adventures at Tales From the Mutiny if you care to follow along!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Goal Check...Seven Months Gone...

Some of you may know that every once in a while I like to reflect on my goals (or intentions) throughout the year. Resolutions are easy to make but hard to stick to and earlier this year I noticed people making a conscious effort to move away from making (or calling them) resolutions. I don't know if this is supposed to be a way of being nicer to one's self by not adding the pressure of a "promise to fulfill" or something to live up or setting one's self up for failure since many resolutions do fail but I guess I am stuck in my I still set goals and make resolutions.

The main goals I wrote about on Dec. 31, 2011 were to live more simply (decluttering), paying off all debt and working on reducing my carbon footprint. Here's where I stand seven months later:

1- Simplify. Back in March the hubby and I moved out of our house and into a 32 foot RV...permanently. We held several yard sales, netting a few thousand dollars, and donated the rest of our clothing and household items to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. We each have 5 {very} small dresser drawers and about 18" of closet space for all of our clothes. Storage is extremely limited so a side benefit is that we have not been able to make many purchases without having to get rid of something else to make room. It has been liberating (except when we get invited out and I feel like I have nothing to wear...and this time it's true).

2- Pay off all debt. Almost done with this one! With reduced expenses like no huge mortgage or utilities, not shopping as a hobby, cutting out all subscriptions (living on the road means cutting back on mail delivery), switching to a Virgin Mobile cell phone(pay as you go) and no big vacations we've been able to pay off a significant portion of our debt. Granted our original debt was just a few credit cards...both of our vehicles are paid off (and older models)...but it feels good watching the balances go down each month.

3-Continue to reduce my carbon foot-print. I'm proud to say that I remember my reusable grocery bags 99% of the husband (a pretend non-greenie) reminds me 0.5% and the other .05% we both forget and end up with a bunch of bags great for cleaning the litter box. Oh, and we've practically eliminated the use of bottled water opting for our Pur Water Pitcher and reusable bottles.

In addition to "the bags", I now make my own household cleaners, air freshener, carpet deodorizer, facial cleanser and moisturizer. I will be using this 'recipe' for laundry detergent just as soon as I use up what I already have. I have gone back to a glycerin based shampoo and deep conditioner but now only wash my hair maybe 2 or 3 times a week.

My other intentions for the year included climbing Mt. Shasta, which doesn't look like it will happen. With all of the changes going on it just wasn't working out. As far as meditation...well, that's something I am working on and hope to really put some effort into now that I'm reading Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living by Pema Chodron for a book club on Elephant Journal.

Speaking of Elephant Journal...I finally did it. I submitted a short story and actually got it published on their wonderful site!! It was terrifying and exhilarating. I wrote about my father and was able to include a few excerpts from his writing as well. I am even more inspired now to continue writing and maybe even submit future stories. The most important thing is that I was able to include my dad's writing, which I really want to continue in the future.
As far as my not focus on weight-loss...well, I'd have to say I've been fairly successful. When I made this declaration in no way did I intended it to mean I would start eating donuts and ice cream and disregard my health. I still eat very well and, since I'm training for a full marathon in September, I am still exercising and running almost every day. But, I'm not freaking out about calories, I'm not weighing myself, I'm not skipping meals or chastising myself for eating a handful of chips (and paying a penance later). And guess what??? My clothes fit better and I feel more relaxed.

With just five more months left in the year (and two months until we hit the road) we will continue to simplfy and declutter to lighten up the load (and gas needs) in the RV. Once I completely (for as long as I can that is) stop working I will be launching our Full-time RV travel blog and writing every day (blog posts or articles/stories to submit or just for the sake of writing).

For those of you who made resolutions/intentions or set goals (or whatever you call them) how has your year been so far?
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